New DPP to represent ministry at Adib inquest

PETALING JAYA: The housing and local government ministry will be represented by a new government counsel at an inquest into a fireman’s death, following the controversial withdrawal of Syazlin Mansor as the ministry’s representative last week.

Housing minister Zuraida Kamaruddin said today that the ministry and Attorney-General Tommy Thomas had agreed that it was in the ministry’s interest and that of the Fire and Rescue Department to be represented by its own deputy public prosecutor “in searching for the truth as to how one of its personnel received fatal injuries whilst on duty”.

The new counsel will be independent of the DPP assisting the coroner who is conducting the inquest.

“It is agreed that the ministry will appoint a senior DPP from a list provided by the AG to represent the ministry and fire department,” she said in a statement.

The new DPP will adopt all evidence and submissions adduced and raised in the coroner’s court by Shazlin, including the evidence of Prof Shahrom Abd Wahid, a former forensic doctor, who was among the witnesses who testified at the inquest.

“We hope this would end any baseless speculation by irresponsible quarters and allow the inquest to continue smoothly and without disruption,” the statement said.

Syazlin had represented the ministry, the fire department and Adib’s family. She withdrew last week, drawing criticisms from various quarters including political parties. She had also told the coroner, Rofiah Mohamad, that her withdrawal would render invalid Shahrom’s status.

Conflicting testimony had been presented by Shahrom and Dr Ahmad Hafizam Hasmi of Hospital Kuala Lumpur, the forensic doctor who performed the post-mortem examination on Adib to provide clues on his injuries before his death on Dec 17 last year.

Adib was part of a response team sent from the Subang Jaya Fire and Rescue station on Nov 27, 2018 to the Seafield Hindu temple following protests over the temple’s relocation, during which violence erupted and damage was caused to property.